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Frontier to Charge for Carry-on Bags

Low-cost carrier Frontier is rolling out some shocking new ancillary fees. But only certain passengers will be affected.

Yesterday, Frontier announced that it will be charging $100 for carry-on bags; this fee, however, will only apply to passengers who have booked their tickets through channels other than Frontier's website. Further, passengers who didn't buy their tickets through the airline's site will receive only a fraction of standard frequent-flyer earnings.

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So if you booked on FlyFrontier.com, you don't have to worry about the $100 bag fee. Additionally, members of the airline's frequent-flyer programs are exempt. But travelers who buy "Basic" tickets, which are sold through online travel agencies like Expedia or Travelocity as well as brick-and-mortar travel agents, will suffer from this new policy.

It gets worse. Frontier is taking away your free Sierra Mist. Those who didn't book directly with the airline, as well as passengers who purchased economy fares (the cheapest fares available on FlyFrontier.com), will be charged $1.99 for drinks.

In a humorous twist, the carrier attempts to paint this as a positive for its customers. According to a statement on the Frontier website, the drink fee will help keep overall fares low. And the new bag fees will "increase overhead space for Frontier's most loyal customers and speed the boarding process for all passengers."

Sure, Frontier's overhead bins will probably get roomier. But—no shocker here—the real reason for these usury fees is revenue. Airlines make more money when customers book directly with carriers instead of going through a provider like Expedia. So if Frontier can to force you to book where it wants you to book, it'll equate to less commission costs that the airline has to pay to third parties.

Frontier made it clear that it doesn't want its customers booking elsewhere when it initiated its first set of penalties last year. Under the guise of "more choice, more perks, and more value," Frontier took away advanced seating assignments and full frequent-flyer mile credits from customers who don't buy directly from the airline.

The new fees kick in this summer. The exact date the carry-on fee kicks in has yet to be announced. We'll keep you posted.

What do you think about Frontier's new policy?

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